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3 day Norfolk Broads Itinerary departing from Potter Heigham

Recently we went on our first boating holiday on the Norfolk Broads. It was our first time on the Broads and we had three days on hand leaving Potter Heigham on a Friday. A little research before the holiday indicated that the rivers are more picturesque and calm in the northern parts of the Broads centred on the River Bure and its tributaries. We also had to take into consideration our boat's height (Olympic Light from Herbert Woods) as there are some low bridges on the Broads. Keeping all this in mind, we chalked out the following itinerary. The routes are suggestions only and if you do visit the Norfolk Broads for a boating holiday, you can talk to the boatyard for route ideas based on your preferences. Boating in the Norfolk Broads is a lot of fun no matter which route you opt for!

Potter Heigham's medieval bridge

Potter Heigham's medieval bridge

Day 1


We left the Herbert Woods boatyard at Potter Heigham and headed towards Ludham which is a small riverside village with a pub (Kings Arms), tea rooms, and a small village store. There are mooring facilities and a water point at Ludham. You can moor your boat and go for a walk around the Ludham marshes. From Ludham we continued downstream past Thurne towards St Benet's Abbey.

St Benet's Abbey is a ruined abbey located close the meeting point of River Ant and River Bure. It is a nice place to stop and moor up for the night (free mooring spaces are available near the abbey ruins) and that is what we did. The Benedictine Abbey was established in the 1020s and although monastic life in England ended by 1545, the Abbey was not officially closed and over a period of time, it became a ruin. Today the site of the Abbey is a Scheduled Monument. It is a nice place to get a little walk in and enjoy the surroundings.

Ruins of St Benet's Abbey

Ruins of St Benet's Abbey in Norfolk Broads

Gatehouse of St Benet's Abbey in Norfolk Broads

Day 2


Leaving St Benet's Abbey, we headed upstream to River Ant and under the Ludham Bridge. We did not moor at Ludham and continued past Neave's Drainage Mill and Turf Fen Drainage Mill reaching How Hill where we moored. There are plenty of free moorings at How Hill and I would recommend that you moor here and spend a few hours exploring the How Hill Estate. The How Hill Estate includes the beautiful How Hill House, woodlands, gardens (House Gardens and Secret Gardens), a tea room, historic windmills and wetlands. We spent quite some time here as it was very beautiful and peaceful. You can also walk along the river to Ludham Bridge from How Hill.

Heading towards How Hill House

How Hill National Nature Reserve

How Hill Estate

Our boat moored near How Hill Estate

How Hill House in Norfolk Broads

How Hill House in Norfolk Broads

How Hill House in Norfolk Broads

How Hill House in Norfolk Broads

Drainage Mill near How Hill House

The Mill house for holiday lets near How Hill Trust

Upon leaving How Hill we continued past Irstead (a tiny village on River Ant) and Barton Broad (the second largest of the Norfolk Broads) to Barton Turf. Barton Turf is a beautiful, small village with its own boatyard and staithe. We moored here and topped up the water tank.

Irstead Village in Norfolk
The Village of Irstead

Barton Broads in Norfolk Broads

Barton Broads

We then continued towards Sutton Broad. Sutton Staithe which lies at the eastern end of the Sutton Broad has a boatyard, a hotel and many mooring spaces. We did not moor here. Instead, we retraced our steps and arrived back at St Benet's Abbey. From here we headed towards South Walsham Broads. Moorings are not permitted in the South Walsham Inner Broad, so we moored in Fleet Dyke which has ample free moorings.

Our boat moored in Fleet Dyke

Our boat moored in Fleet Dyke

Day 3


Day 3 saw us heading back down the dyke and out onto the River Bure. We passed Ranworth Broad (has a floating Broads Wildlife Centre), Cockshoot Broad (part of the Bure Marshes National Nature Reserve) and continued to the picturesque village of Horning.


Cockshoot Broad

Horning is one of the prettiest village in Norfolk Broads with beautiful waterside properties on one side of the river and reeds on the other. The village stretches for around a mile and the best way to see these beautiful houses is from a boat. There are many waterside pubs, restaurants and tea rooms in Horning.

The village of Horning in Norfolk Broads

The village of Horning in Norfolk Broads

The village of Horning in Norfolk Broads

The village of Horning in Norfolk Broads

The village of Horning in Norfolk Broads

The village of Horning in Norfolk Broads

The village of Horning in Norfolk Broads

The village of Horning in Norfolk Broads

Southern Comfort, a double deck, luxury river cruiser runs regular trips from Horning to other parts of the Broads.


Southern Comfort

After leaving Horning we continued past Hoveton Little Broad, Dydall's Mill and Decoy Broad to Salhouse Broad. Here some moorings are available if you wish to take the Hoveton Great Broad Nature Trail. We did not moor here and continued towards Wroxham Broad. There is a sailing club here and we saw many yachts on our way. Upstream was the entrance to Wroxham. Since our boat had a bridge clearance of 8ft and the Wroxham Road Bridge is a low bridge (7'3") we turned around and headed back the way we came to St Benet's Abbey. We had to return the boat to the Herbert Woods boatyard the next morning so we decided to moor nearer to the boatyard in Potter Heigham.

Day 4


Our last day on the Norfolk Broads and it was time to hand back the boat.

We had a wonderful holiday on the Broads. The boat was beautiful and the Norfolk Broads very scenic and peaceful. We would definitely go back again and next time will head towards Great Yarmouth.

If you're thinking about taking a holiday, we recommend the Norfolk Broads. The Norfolk Broads has plenty to offer and a boating holiday is the best way to experience it.

Norfolk Broads

Norfolk Broads

Norfolk Broads

Norfolk Broads

Sailing yachts on the Norfolk Broads

Sailing yachts on the Norfolk Broads

Sailing yachts on the Norfolk Broads

14 comments:

  1. Always wanted to do the broads, but wasn't sure how and what to do. Your 3 day itinerary sounds perfect. Your article and the beautiful photos have helped me decide. Thanks

    It's Norfolk Broads this May :)

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    1. Thanks, Laura. I hope you visit the Broads soon and enjoy your boating holiday.

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  2. I love the stunning pictures and the detailed itinerary. I cannot believe I’ve yet to do Norfolk to any extent. It looks picture perfect

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    1. It is very serene, Anne. And if you can avoid the peak season then it is even more wonderful.

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  3. Such lovely images! Looks like a pristine place! I would love to walk around Ludham marshes. St Benet's Abbey sounds interesting! Since it is also a place to spot wildlife, I guess one should also carry binoculars here, especially the birdwatchers!

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    1. Yes, you are right. It is a good spot for bird watching as well.

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  4. Oh the beautiful countryside! I love the architecture of St Benet's Abbey and the village of Horning is certainly very picturesque! The river with the little huts along the waterside are so dreamy!

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  5. What an awesome holiday on Norfolk broads especially from a boat! I would love to do something similar but everything that has to do with a boat is always too expensive! The houses and the buildings are so beautiful and cosy, imagine to be living right by the water! I hope one day to be able to do a boating holiday, perhaps not to Norfolk Broads but somewhere else!

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    1. The Norfolk Broads are beautiful! And Herbert Woods (whose boat we holidayed in) also provide day boat hire. These day boats can accommodate up to 8 people making them perfect for a day out or picnic on the Broads with friends or family.

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  6. Clarice Lao | Camping for Women7 May 2018 at 20:28

    Thank you for sharing this well-made itinerary. I would love to visit Norfolk someday and would definitely keep this in mind.

    It would be so awesome to start sailing again.

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  7. What a beautiful place! I love those English style houses. Living in one of those with your own boat in front of the house would be pretty epic. Sounds like you guys had a great trip. I would love to visit here someday!

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  8. I cannot believe that I have never heard of the Norfolk Broads prior to reading your post. The scenery around the area is really picturesque and I would love to capture some great shots from some of the spectacular vantage points there - fantastic!

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  9. Wow..The broads itinerary sounds perfect for a great holiday. I love these quieter places. The images are inviting. I am saving this for my next visit. I simply loved this small village of Barton Turf. Given a choice, I would love to settle there. Great read.

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  10. I had to google to figure out what the Norfolk Broads were. I'm glad that I did. The picture perfect vistas in your photos are probably best enjoyed cruising down the waters as you did!

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